SLOUGH have suffered a blow as they battle to stay in the Investec League Premier Division, writes Dave Wright.

Mel Ball, one of their most experienced players, looks set to miss the two remaining fixtures after fracturing her jaw during the goalless draw with Beeston on Saturday.

“It will be too risky for her to play, especially as she has broken it before,” said Kat McGonigle, the Pink and Blacks captain.

Ball is their joint-leading scorer, albeit with just four goals, and her absence will be felt by a team that struggles to find the net, having managed just 15 in 16 games.

She was hurt when she courageously rushed off the goal-line to try to defend a rising shot from a penalty corner, only to be struck hard in her face.

The forward left the field after five minutes and so the difficult task of breaking down the Beeston defence became even harder for the host team.

With the Slough rearguard also remaining solid and giving nothing away, scoring chances were few and far between at both ends.

Both sides played with caution, so making an error unlikely, while neither was able to produce a piece of magic that may have led to a goal.

Slough remain second bottom with 13 points, the same as the side immediately above them, University of Birmingham, with a goal difference of minus two splitting them.

Both are five points ahead of tailenders Canterbury and all three sides have just two games remaining.

To make matters even more difficult for Kali Takher’s side, this Saturday (1pm) they are away to Surbiton who must win if they are to stand a chance of overhauling Holcombe in the league title race.

The defending and five-time champions are currently one point behind the leaders.

The Pink and Blacks have lost their last seven Premier Division meetings with Surbiton, so it would be a major shock if they come away from Sugden Road with even a point.

Slough men also failed to treat the Upton Court Park fans to a goal last weekend, losing 4-0 to Premier Two title chasers Trojans in their last home game of the season.

On target for the visitors were Matt Bell, Ben Cole, Paul Hilton and Scott Summers.

Slough complete their fixtures this Saturday by visiting Woking, the only side below them in the table.